By Joshua Koch
HOUSTON – DeAndre Hopkins’ mother has never seen him play in a football game.
The 24-year-old Hopkins was 12 when his mother was physically assaulted by another woman throwing acid in her face, causing extensive injuries with the most damage being done to her eyes.
From that moment on, Hopkins’ mother wouldn’t see again, being blinded from the attack.
This act of domestic violence has helped fuel Hopkins to join forces with the nonprofit organization Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence, to spread awareness.
“It’s not easy being up here talking about domestic violence for me,” Hopkins said during his speech. “I’ve never spoken to a crowd this big about it because it’s not something that’s easy for somebody that it affects every day.”
The AVDA has been serving the Houston area for 37 years, providing direct services to families victimized by domestic violence.
Hopkins took time out of his offseason schedule on Friday to speak to a gym full of students, coaches and teachers about domestic violence at Margaret Wisdom High School.
The Pro Bowl wide receiver, spoke for roughly 10 minutes, reflecting on his experience with domestic violence and how it has had a lasting impact on his life.
“It means a lot,” Hopkins said about getting to speak to students on Friday. “This platform that I have I can touch kids like this. Especially to me, that I’m able to come out here and these kids actually listen to me. It’s more than football, it’s more than being a football player. It’s about affecting the community that you’re in and trying to help somebody. If one kid that paid attention, then I feel like I did my job today.”
According to the AVDA website, more than 70 percent of domestic violence cases go unreported. Also according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States “have been victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline in a 2013 survey reported that they receive roughly 20,000 phone calls per day.
National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)